Skip to main content

Babe Ruth and other Red Sox pitchers

Babe Ruth and other Red Sox pitchers
Underwood & Underwood, active 1880 - c. 1950
George Foster, 5 Jan 1888 - 1 Mar 1976
Carl William Mays, 12 Nov 1891 - 4 Apr 1971
Ernest Shore, 24 Mar 1891 - 24 Sept 1980
George Herman ("Babe") Ruth, 6 Feb 1895 - 17 Aug 1948
Hubert Benjamin Leonard, 16 Apr 1892 - 19 Jul 1952
Gelatin paper print
Image/Sheet: 16.5 x 24.6 cm (6 1/2 x 9 11/16")
Exterior\Sports arena\Baseball stadium
Equipment\Sports Equipment\Baseball Equipment
George Herman ("Babe") Ruth: Male
George Herman ("Babe") Ruth: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Baseball
George Foster: Male
George Foster: Sports and Recreation\Athlete
George Foster: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Baseball\Pitcher
Carl William Mays: Male
Carl William Mays: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Baseball\Pitcher
Ernest Shore: Male
Ernest Shore: Law and Crime\Police\Sheriff
Ernest Shore: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Baseball\Pitcher
Hubert Benjamin Leonard: Male
Hubert Benjamin Leonard: Natural Resource Occupations\Agriculturist\Farmer
Hubert Benjamin Leonard: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Baseball\Pitcher
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
Left to right: George "Rube" Foster (1888–1976), Carl Mays (1891–1971), Ernest "Ernie" Shore (1891–1980), George Herman "Babe" Ruth (1895–1948), and Hubert Benjamin "Dutch" Leonard (1892–1952)
When signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1914, the thin, muscular 6’2" Babe Ruth was a gifted pitcher. In 1915 he established himself as a star with an 18–8 win-loss record and a 2.44 ERA. The next year, his league-leading nine shutouts and 1.75 ERA helped the Red Sox repeat as world champions. Wartime restrictions shortened the 1918 season and thinned the ranks of players. (As a married man, Ruth was not drafted.) Ruth played the outfield as well as pitched, responding with a 13–7 record; he was also tied for a league-leading eleven home runs. His two shutouts in the 1918 World Series set a record for scoreless innings that stood until 1961. During 1919, his last season with the Red Sox, he gave up pitching to become a full-time outfielder. By that time, he had compiled an 89–46 win-loss record with a 2.28 ERA, leaving little doubt he could have been one of baseball’s greatest pitchers.
Ruth’s baseball abilities at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys came to the attention of Jack Dunn, owner and manager of the then-minor league Baltimore Orioles, who signed him to his first professional contract on Valentine’s Day 1914. That spring, the nineteen-year-old George Herman Ruth, who was known as one of Dunn’s new “babes,” acquired his indelible nickname, “Babe.” By midsummer, however, Dunn was in financial need and sold Ruth and Ernie Shore to the Boston Red Sox. Ruth would not hit his first major-league home run until the following spring, but the left-hander was making headlines as “quite a demon pitcher.” The Red Sox won the World Series that year, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4–1, largely behind the strength of their pitchers. And so Ruth began his record of pitching 29 2/3 scoreless innings, setting a mark that would stand for forty-three years.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Currently not on view